Dublin-based NIBRT will help train the next generation of engineering and biopharma researchers to produce potentially life-saving drugs.
As the BioPharma Ambition conference gets underway today (21 February) at Dublin Castle, the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) has revealed a new partnership that could help bridge the gap in medication production with a new education centre.
The partnership will see NIBRT team up with Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University to create the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing, making it the first and only education and training institute for biopharmaceutical processing in North America.
With new biologic therapies turning acute and debilitating illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and cancer into manageable chronic diseases and sometimes cures, biologics are rapidly gaining momentum throughout the world.
However, because of the complex manufacturing process and lengthier regulatory approval when compared with traditional small-molecule drugs, potentially life-saving drugs for these conditions are challenging to produce, with only a handful of centres throughout the world dedicated to training people to do so.
This new centre, the partners said, could help change that in a significant way. When fully operational, the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing is expected to serve 2,500 people annually.
Significant demand for global talent
During this time, the centre will work with the pharmaceutical companies, and provide workforce training through community college partnerships and bioprocessing certifications through regional university partnerships.
The institute will facilitate enrolment of 70 additional Jefferson students in bioprocessing engineering, from undergraduate through to PhD levels.
“Jefferson is built on anticipating the emerging professions that will be commonplace 10 years from now and educating students in those disciplines today,” said Stephen K Klasko, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health.
“In an increasingly global world, Jefferson and NIBRT are leveraging our respective strengths and creatively partnering to bring unprecedented value to students and industry.”
Meanwhile, NIBRT CEO Dominic Carolan added: “There is a significant demand for global talent to support the growth of the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry, and our relationship with Jefferson will help address this demand throughout the US.”